How much sugar in your drink?

Hospital gave diabetes patient sweet treats

AN ELDERLY diabetes patient has been fed cordial, biscuits and deep-fried fish from his bed at a major Brisbane hospital, with his daughter claiming some of his meals were inedible.

The man, who is in his 80s, is being treated at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital for heart failure.

His daughter contacted News Queensland, claiming she was amazed that "in this day and age" the hospital was offering iced coffee or cordial as an afternoon tea option with biscuits or cake.

It comes after Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles announced a new push last week to phase out sugary foods and drinks from public hospitals and healthcare facilities.

The woman requested that she and her father remain anonymous as the man was still being treated.

"His dinner last night was a boiled egg still in its shell and boiled white rice and a berry pastry," the woman said.

"The night before was deep fried fish and mashed potato which we think might be powdered."

The woman said her father had also been served "soggy, cold vegetables".

"Yesterday he asked for tea and a banana for afternoon tea, but they gave him cordial and a biscuit which is on his chart as not allowed," she said.

"There are choices for meals but even aiming for the best options is difficult."

Health Minister Steven Miles wants sugary foods and drinks phased out of Queensland’s health facilities. Picture: AAP/Dave Hunt
Health Minister Steven Miles wants sugary foods and drinks phased out of Queensland’s health facilities. Picture: AAP/Dave Hunt

Menus at Queensland's public hospitals are designed by dietitians who consider the patient's length of stay, age, medical condition and nutritional status and special dietary needs.

Depending on the type of diet required, patients will be given a choice of meals.

Queensland Health was unable to confirm or deny the elderly man's circumstances without a name.

"We believe in giving our patients choice while they are recovering in our hospitals - hospitals are not prisons," a spokeswoman said.

"For clinical reasons where malnutrition is a concern, particularly for older people, it's not abnormal for us to offer patients a choice of food that is higher in protein and energy than they may normally eat at home."

Heart Foundation CEO Stephen Vines said food served in hospitals should provide an example of the healthier food choices patients need to make once they return home.

"I recently heard a comment on the radio that a heart attack patient had been fed a meat pie, if this is true it is very disappointing," he said.

"It is important that heart attack patients are fed nutritious, fresh food in recovery."